Making Mistakes: Looking Back at 2014

By Last Updated: January 4, 2015Views: 3543

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.

Neil Gaiman

If making mistakes is the measure of a good year then I have had a very good year indeed.

The majority of my mistakes have been of the verbal variety. I have an unusually large mouth that works at an incredibly fast pace; much faster than my brain. So thoughts like: “maybe I shouldn’t say this particular thing at this particular time” do not have time to process and as such ridiculous combinations of words come falling out without regard to consequence.

In my defense often times these unplanned and poorly thought through word combinations can be quite humorous and has been known to cause a smile and the odd laugh or two. Other times, however, this is not the case. It is a fine line I walk between being funny and just being a dick. A very fine line and one I am never sure what side I am on.

But what I like doing best is Nothing.
How do you do Nothing? asked Pooh, after he had wondered for a long time.
Well, it’s when people call out at you just as you’re going off to do it, What are you going to do Christopher Robin, and you say, Oh, nothing, and you go and do it.
— A.A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner

Other mistakes this year often involved nothing. Nothing is one of my favorite pastimes. In fact when given the choice between something and nothing I will usually lean toward nothing. And while noting is extremely entertaining and pleasurable it is not exactly productive. And productivity was the goal for the year. So the battle between nothing and something raged – mistakes ensued.

Now as I look back at the output of this blog (which is actually what this post is meant to be about FYI) I find it to be a tale of two halves. The start of the year tended toward my usual dark and overly sentimental writing. My default mode if you will. And this does provide some very insightful pieces, if I say so myself. I’ve always found that by touching sadness I become more honest and willing to tell and show and be naked and raw. Maybe it’s an Irish thing, a family heritage – a bottle of beer and a melancholy tear. A heart laid bear with memory of strife and struggle. Or perhaps I romanticize it too much. Maybe I just like to write sad.

But the second half of the year I moved toward lighter fare; movies and comics and humorous observations. This was not by design but as I look back it is understandable. Early in the year there was loss and fear, maybe I unknowingly ran from it.

Around spring my stepfather, a dear man, died and his absence shrouded the days that followed. Not long after my daughter spent a few days in the hospital with a pneumonia-like virus. I cannot describe the feelings of terror and helplessness that occur when your child is in a sterile medical bed wearing oxygen and IVs and not knowing what is happening. It is an experience I do not wish to have happen again nor would I wish it upon my worst enemy. It is not something I am equipped to handle. My daughter was brave. I was not.

It was these experiences that I believe unconsciously changed my choice of subjects. Gone was the sad introspection replaced by frivolity. Unplanned and unknown, my subconscious seemed to shield me, push me toward something a bit lighter and non-demanding.

I don’t want to suggest there was a drop in quality, because I don’t think there was any, just a different focus, a different direction. I just find it interesting. One rarely gets insight to their motivations throughout the year. To know what actions or feelings guided their hand.

If nothing else this year could be considered a strange psychological experiment conducted on myself by myself in an unscientific way with results that are inconclusive at best. This is to say, life and the living of it. Hopefully a few people were entertained as it happened.

In the end 2014 was a year of loss and fear and happiness and confusion and experimentation and joy and sadness and celebration. In other words a normal year.

2015 looks to be no different but not at all the same. As it should be. So go on…tell your story, speak your mind and feel free to make mistakes.

I know I will.

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  1. Teri January 4, 2015 at 6:03 am - Reply

    Nice balance between conversational & literary :)

    • Paul Matthew Carr January 4, 2015 at 6:48 am - Reply

      Thank you Teri, I appreciate your feedback. I’ve really tried to come up with a voice that was conversational, as you say, but not boring or uninteresting. I want to have a “literary” sound while being accessible at the same time. As silly as it may sound it’s actually very difficult to sound authentic on the internet. I might have put too much thought into a fluff blog piece but its nice that you noticed.

  2. David January 4, 2015 at 3:43 pm - Reply

    In all your posts, dear Mr. Carr, you are unfailingly honest. And that’s what I like about your writing.

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